Early palliative care associated with lower costs for adults with advanced cancer: evidence from Hungary

Antal Tamás Zemplényi*, Ágnes Csikós, Petra Fadgyas-Freyler, Marcell Csanádi, Zoltán Kaló, Éva Pozsgai, Maureen Rutten-van Mölken, János György Pitter

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: Palliative Care Consult Service (PCCS) programme was established in Hungary to provide palliative care to hospitalised patients with complex needs and to coordinate integrated care across providers. The aim of this study was to measure the association of PCCS with healthcare costs from payer's perspective. Methods: Study population consisted of patients with metastatic cancer, who were admitted to the Clinical Centre of the University of Pécs between 2014 and 2016. Patients who did not die within 180 days from enrolment were excluded. Patients receiving services from PCCS team (intervention patients) were compared to patients receiving usual care (controls). The two populations were matched using propensity scores. Data were obtained from electronic medical records linked to claims data. Results: For patients who were involved in PCCS at least 60 days before their death, the costs of care outside the acute hospital were higher. However, this was offset by savings in hospital costs so that the total healthcare cost was significantly reduced (p = 0.034). The proportion of patients who died in the hospital was lower in the PCCS group compared to the usual care group (66% vs. 85%, p = 0.022). Conclusion: Timely initiation of palliative care for hospitalised patients is associated with cost savings for the healthcare system.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere13473
JournalEuropean Journal of Cancer Care
Issue number6
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 9 Jun 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study has received funding from the European Union Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 634288

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Authors. European Journal of Cancer Care published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


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